We’re a long ways away from Valiant launching a movie based on their hit superhero Faith. Heck, we’re still a ways away from the long promised Valiant Universe of films, an original comic book universe that Sony Pictures hopes will rival Marvel. But that doesn’t mean we can’t fancast. And if there’s one actress who would be perfect for Faith, it’s Beanie Feldstein.
If you have no idea who Beanie Feldstein is, or who Faith Herbert is, or what comic books are… How did you get here? That said, a few simple explainers might be necessary. And then our pitch for why Beanie is the perfect Faith.
Who is Beanie Feldstein?
GREAT question. Though the actress has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, she’s not a household name. Part of that probably has to do with her age: Elizabeth Greer “Beanie” Feldstein graduated from Wesleyan University three years ago, and slowly been garnering acclaim since.
Since then she’s appeared in Fan Girl, had a sizable role in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, and on Broadway in Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler.
But if you do know Beanie, it’s probably because of her role as Saoirse Ronan’s best friend in last year’s Lady Bird. The (excellent) movie cast Feldstein as a nerdy catholic school girl torn between devotion to her best friend and seething anger that said best friend ditched her for the cool kids. Where most movies with this plot line focus on Ronan’s character, Feldstein was allowed to infuse Julie with real pathos, and eventually (spoiler) forgiveness.
Also: she’s Jonah Hill’s little sister. That has nothing to do with anything, really, but it was probably going to come up at some point.
Who is Faith Herbert?
Faith is a psiot, the Valiant universe’s version of mutants. She can fly due to a field of energy that courses around her body. She’s also able to extend that field to make other things (and people) close to her float along with her. And, she’s able to use that field as a shield, as well as offensively as a sort of “wind blast.” Her abilities are called “aerokinetic.”
She’s also a proud nerd, able to drop references to Doctor Who and Sailor Moon with equal aplomb. At the same time, she’s enormously popular in the Valiant Universe, one of the few heroes that isn’t just in the public eye, but generally beloved.
She’s earnest, sweet and cares very deeply about her friends. Faith has also internalized a lot of the positive lessons she’s learned from comic books and fantasy novels: she’s not super strong or fast, but does good because she can.
Initially, she was part of a fringe group of runaway psiots battling the semi-evil Toyo Harada, a massively powerful psiot who wants to take over the world in order to guide it properly. Then she briefly joined Unity, the Valiant U’s premiere super team, before bowing out due to the enormous pressure.
Now, she lives in Los Angeles working at a BuzzFeed clone writing listicles by day, and fighting crime by night. Her secret identity was so bad, though, that everyone figured out who she was almost immediately.
What’s the deal with the Valiant Universe movies?
Sony has been working on them for a long time, but it seems like the Valiant suite of films is finally seeing some movement. Initially, they were pitched with three “series”: Bloodshot, about a mind-wiped, nanobot powered assassin; Harbinger, about Faith’s team of rogue psiots; and Harbinger Wars, an Avengers style film that would bring them all together.
That was in 2015, and in fact Bloodshot was first picked up by Columbia Pictures (a division of Sony) in 2012. In 2017, Dave Wilson was added as director, and this past January it was announced Vin Diesel was in talks to star. Sam Heughan and Toby Kebbell will also appear in the movie.
Point being, it’s been a bit of a journey to get these characters to the screen.
Okay, what’s the deal with the Faith movie?
There’s no release date mentioned, no director or star attached. Just the writer, and a dream!
So why is Beanie Feldstein the perfect Faith?
It comes down to character. What Beanie perfectly captures on screen is Faith’s bright, beautiful optimism. In Lady Bird, even when her character is down, she isn’t out. She practically shines with love, and yes, faith. Particularly in her best friend, but also how she approaches everything in life. That captures the core of Faith Herbert perfectly.
One other item that’s been glowingly trumpeted in the trades: yes, Faith is a plus-sized superhero. And yes, Beanie is a plus-sized actress. So physically, as well as mentally they’re a fit.
Comic book fans might point out that Faith is blonde, while Beanie has brown hair. To that, I would say: shut up. She’s perfect. Deal with it.
That is, if the movie ever makes it to screen. Hopefully it does, because Faith is the sort of optimistic, positive superhero we need right now. I guess if we do want to see Beanie in the role, we’ve gotta have… Belief in it happening.
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